While the Gerson protocol is a very good protocol, today it is recommended that anyone who is using the Gerson protocol combine it with the Cellect-Budwig protocol. Mike Vrentas, who supports those on the Cellect-Budwig protocol, is an expert on the Gerson protocol. Thus, Mike can not only support a patient on the newer and more powerful Cellect-Budwig protocol, but the Gerson Diet can be used as the “Cancer Diet” when using the Cellect-Budwig Protocol.

However, there is a warning. A person should not use too many highly alkaline protocols. Thus, a person needs to work with Mike to get the best and safest combination of these two major protocols. So let Mike know you are using the Gerson Diet as the “Cancer Diet.”

See the Cellect-Budwig protocol.

How It Works

Gerson therapy is one of the metabolic therapies, using a special diet, plus supplements, and a coffee enema to cure terminal cases of cancer. 90-95 percent of his cancer cases were far advanced (terminal), and overall his cure rate was about 50 percent, which is exceptional because he counted all of his patients, not just those who lived for a year or more. This percentage is far higher than current day orthodox treatments and higher than most alternative cancer treatments.

He stated: “… this percentage could be higher if there were better cooperation from the family physician, the patient himself and less resistance from the family against such a strict regime.” (page 33) Apparently, some things never change. Gerson is also known for his very high cure rate of tuberculosis, which is caused by a bacteria.

Having said that, there is a reason that Gerson's cure rate might actually be closer to those of Kelley and Binzel, as examples, than surface statistics might imply. Both Kelley and Binzel did not include in their statistics those cancer patients who came to them who were simply too far gone to help. Gerson apparently included everyone.

Note: While this treatment achieved a true cure rate of 50 percent on advanced terminal patients, and while the best of the alternative cancer treatments today only achieve a 50 percent cure rate, I do not rate this treatment as a “Stage IV” treatment. There are two reasons. First, his treatment is very complex and his book is very disjointed. But more importantly, the cancer patients sent home to die when he was practicing medicine were in far better health than the ones sent home to die today. Thus, his 50 percent true cure rate is not comparable to the 50 percent true cure rates of today, such as cesium chloride and DMSO achieve.

Dr. Max Gerson Therapy

Max Gerson was a medical doctor who used diet and other natural treatments to deal with cancer. His approach was developed as a combination of trial-and-error methods and a vast amount of reading of the scientific literature.

The theory and implementation of his treatment can be found in his book: A Cancer Therapy – Results of Fifty Cases and The Cure of Advanced Cancer by Diet Therapy. This article will be based on the 5th Edition. His book is quite long and at times very technical. Nevertheless, it is recommended reading, especially for those using his treatment. A medical dictionary sitting by your side will be very helpful.

Gerson was well aware of soil issues, the electricity of cells, how cancer cells ferment glucose, oxidizing enzymes, sodium/potassium balance, connective tissue, and many other technical issues related to cancer. His treatment and approach was a “whole body” approach, meaning he did not consider that treating only the localized area of concentrated cancer cells, as orthodox medicine does, is a good idea.

  • “The ideal task of cancer therapy is to restore the function of the oxidizing systems in the entire organism. This, of course, is difficult to accomplish. It involves the following: 1) detoxification of the whole body, 2) providing the essential mineral contents of the potassium group, 3) adding oxidizing enzymes continuously as long as they are not reactivated and built in the body (in the form of green leaf juice and fresh calf's liver juice). This will create a near normal condition of the oxidizing system in the body, to which malignant cells with the fermentation system cannot adapt.” Dr. Max Gerson, A Cancer Therapy, 5th Edition, page 7

Gerson was very interested in treating the liver. Several chapters of his book deal with various aspects of the liver. He noted several cancer patients who were cured of their cancer but later died of cirrhosis of the liver (see page 18). In a sense he considered that damage to the liver preceded the metastasis of cancer (see pages 40 and 64). In fact, Gerson saw a parallel between the deterioration of the liver and the growth and progression of cancer. Because of his concern for liver problems, he did not favor fasting (see page 74).

One point of focus of Gerson's interest was connective tissue. Quoting Professor Pischinger:

  • “The mesenchym [currently spelled: mesenchyme] consists mostly of connective tissue cells which are distributed all over the body, especially between all organs and tissues. It contains some different types of cells. This tissue was long ignored until a few scientists discovered the importance of this so-called ‘filling tissue,' now characterized more precisely as the ‘reticular system,' containing the mesenchymal defense and parenteral digestive apparatus. From the pathology, we learn that almost every tumor is surrounded by such tissue, and the same tissue also embraces all new cancer establishments. This connective tissue is almost inactive and paralyzed in cancer, incapable of helping or protecting the body any longer in defense or healing.Dr. Max Gerson, A Cancer Therapy, 5th Edition, page 120

Gerson comments about this quote:

  • “A number of scientists have tried various methods to stimulate the reticular system as well as the reticuloendothelial system, which seem to control and regulate the growth of cells. Failure of these systems may cause the uncontrolled growth [of cancer cells], which is a characteristic part of cancer.” Dr. Max Gerson, A Cancer Therapy, 5th Edition, page 120

It is unfortunate that Gerson did not know what we know now:

  • “Cancer cells produce and secrete millions of enzyme molecules, which, like scissors, cut collagen and tissue that surrounds cells… Using the same mechanism, cancer cells can settle [in a new location] and start new tumor growth. Dr. Aleksandra Niedzwiecki, Rath Foundation

It is the focus of the Rath Cellular Solution and Osiecki Cancer Technique (for which I have articles on this website) to protect this collagen matrix from being cut apart by the cancer cell created enzymes. If Gerson had had this technology, his cure rate may have been significantly higher.

A related, and just as interesting, concept in his book is related to the issue of inflammation. To him, the body's ability to create an inflammation to the afflicted area of the body was critical to the treatment of cancer. “…that slices of tissue, taken from malignant rat tumors or human cancer tissues, are killed fast in an inflammation exudate simply because the specific metabolism of the cancer cell cannot be maintained in those surroundings.” (page 43) “There is no other way but to kill these [cancer] cells to dissolve and absorb them. I believe the surest way to achieve this end is to restore to the body its ability to produce non-bacterial inflammatory reactions.” (pages 125-127)

In addition to this, he felt the diet should be designed to avoid allergic reactions. “It became necessary to find means of excluding all allergic reactions as far as possible. We succeeded in excluding the nutritional allergies by adding large doses of potassium and simultaneously applying a strictly saltless diet.” (page 139) Coffee enemas and castor oil treatments were also part of this approach.

  • “[Professor G. von Bergmann stated] Cancer metabolism takes place once the body is no longer capable of producing an active ‘inflammation metabolism' … the cancerous organism is anergic [a lack of normal immunological function] in respect to inflammation.” Dr. Max Gerson, A Cancer Therapy, 5th Edition, page 120

I am not sure whether Gerson included this next quote in reference to inflammation or the more general topic of temperature: “[Professor Lambert concluded] In the tissue culture the cancer cell will be damaged by a temperature of 39 degrees C. and dies at 42 degrees C; the normal cell will be damaged by 43 degree C. and dies at 46-47 degrees C.” (page 45)

It seems that the collagen matrix (a critical part of the connective tissue, and which Gerson refers to as mesenchym), the immune system, and the ability of the body to create inflammations are all highly related issues.

  • “Connective tissue functions not only as a mechanical support for other tissues but also as an avenue for communication and transport among other tissues. Most significantly, connective tissue is the stage for inflammation. The principal cell types involved in immunological defense are found within connective tissue.”

It may be correct to conclude that when the cancer cell enzymes cut apart the collagen matrix, not only does the cancer spread, but the immune system and the ability of the body to create an inflammation are damaged. In other words, as was said above: “This connective tissue is almost inactive and paralyzed in cancer, incapable of helping or protecting the body any longer in defense or healing.”

Gerson was very interested in the potassium group of minerals versus the sodium group. He favored the potassium group for treating cancer and his diet absolutely forbid adding any salt to foods. The ratio of potassium to sodium was something he emphasized several times. This, in spite of the fact that some of his contemporaries came to a different conclusion about salt. He probably talked about potassium more than any other single subject. He was also interested in other minerals as well, along with some vitamins.

Gerson was also aware of the electrical component of cancer. “All investigators found that malignant tumors are characterized by a considerable electronegativity in the tissues and fluids.” (page 106) In fact, this is one reason why he was so interested in potassium and other minerals. “The late G.W. Crile, and his collaborators, M. Telkes and A.F. Rowland, found a decreased electrical polarization and an increased electric conductivity in malignant tumors which may be caused, in my opinion, by the greater sodium content in the growing part of the tumor.” (page 107)

One vitamin Gerson liked was niacin. It “helps to bring back sufficient glycogen into the liver cells,” (page 209) open[s] the small arteries and capillaries;” (page 209) and “raises the electrical potentials in the cells.” (page 209) He also recommended discontinuing taking niacin in cases of bleeding. (page 209)

As with Moerman, Gerson was very interested in iodine, a nutrient our FDA has made difficult to obtain in therapeutic quantities. “Iodine is a decisive factor in the normal differentiation of cells, and can be used in order to counteract the decrease of cell differentiation as seen in the cancerous tissues. Iodine is also regarded as counteracting some adrenal hormones.” (page 32)

Gerson once stated: “…our modern agriculture decreased potassium and iodine in our nutrition, precisely the minerals essential for prevention of cancer.”

As with several other alternative health practitioners (e.g. Kelley, Hulda Clark, etc.) Gerson required a coffee enema. Generally, his enemas were given every four hours – day and night. However, in cases of discomfort (i.e. flare-ups), they were given every two hours. As he notes on page 236a: “However, physician must monitor serum electrolytes frequently.”

Gerson had excellent results treating tuberculosis cases. The significance of this is that tuberculosis is caused by a bacteria. His first cancer treatments were essentially his tuberculosis treatment plan (see page 31). This lends credibility to the theory that cancer is related to some type of parasite, felt now to be a fungi/mold/yeast. Gerson himself discounted the possibility that cancer was caused by a microorganism (see page 35).

Gerson was also well aware, even in the 1950s, of the importance of organic foods (because general farming practices left the plants without enough nutrients), such as carrots, and the damage done to foods, by the way, they were processed and packaged. Think how much worse things are today.

Gerson twice mentioned that his “most drastic” mistake was giving a number of patients “opposite sex hormones,” based on the recommendation of another doctor. This mistake caused a number of deaths among his better patients. (see page 219)

Gerson was not a fan of orthodox medicine. He noted that cure rates were the same even after better diagnostic techniques and a myriad of new orthodox treatment protocols (see page 87).

The Diet

The Gerson diet is extremely detailed. It is not just the foods that are included and excluded; it is when the foods are eaten, how often they are eaten, how they are prepared, how not to prepare them, what to cook them in, how to package them, etc.

If someone is going to go on the Gerson diet, I would suggest that before they read the book, they write down (or become familiar with) the diet as presented in pages 236-248 (5th edition). Then as they read the book from the beginning they can compare the comments in the book with the diet itself.

One thing that must be remembered is that the book was written in pieces, meaning at more than one time. Dr. Gerson did not have a word processor, in which he could quickly make changes to old chapters. Thus, the book is a mix of old chapters and new chapters. There is a lot of redundancy and a lot of poor organization. But this is a reflection of the time period in which he wrote the book. It is a large book, and very technical at times.

I have seen testimonials of the Gerson treatment on the internet, however, details were not given of their treatment, except that they apparently drank more carrot juice than his book suggested.

Gerson kept his cancer patients on his diet for at least one and a half years, and frequently two years. “In more advanced cases it takes a long time, about one to one and a half years, to restore the liver as near as possible to normal.” (page 196)

  • “Another frequent mistake patients make is to feel, that ‘a little bit' of one or the other forbidden foods cannot do them much harm. This is an entirely mistaken notion; besides, these ‘little bits' tend to become larger and more frequent: they do not fail to produce harmful results.” Dr. Max Gerson, A Cancer Therapy, 5th Edition, page 216

Well said, this still applies to cancer diets.

I do not know what changes, if any, the current Gerson clinics have made to his diet. The Gerson Institute, now run by his daughter Charlotte Gerson, can be contacted via this website (several books can be purchased from this website):

Here is a clinic in Hawaii that uses the Gerson therapy and other treatments:

Hawaii Gerson Therapy Retreat

A Documentary on the Gerson Treatment

Here is a description of a documentary on the Gerson Treatment:

  • “Filmmaker Stephen Kroschel sets out to find hard evidence of the effectiveness of the Gerson Therapy, a long-suppressed natural cancer treatment. His travels take him across both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, from upstate New York to San Diego to Alaska, from Japan to Holland and Mexico. In the end, he presents the testimony of patients, scientists, surgeons, and nutritionists, who testify to the effectiveness of the Gerson Therapy and shows the hard scientific evidence to back up their claims.”

Here is a link to a 10-minute segment of the documentary and the DVD itself:

“Dying To Have Known” Documentary

Supercharging This Treatment

While Gerson put together a wonderful treatment for his day, many powerful anti-cancer supplements have been developed since his diet was designed. Furthermore, many scientific studies have been done which he was not aware of or were done after his day.

Someone who wants to go on this diet should supplement it with some of the stronger and newer treatments.

I would add MSM/LIPH and 5 or 6 other items in the Dirt Cheap Protocol.

However, DO NOT add the Kelmun baking soda protocol, or any other highly alkaline protocol, to the Gerson protocol.

Also see two long lists of supplements that might benefit someone using this diet, see the two major treatment articles:

Treatment For Stage I, II and III Cancer Patients

Treatment For Stage IV Cancer Patients

Site Key Websites on Gerson Therapy
Gerson Institute Gerson Institute (Buy/Download Gerson Diet Books)
Charlotte Gerson, YouTube Interview – 3 hours Interview with Charlotte Gerson
Charlotte Gerson, YouTube Interview – 2 hours Interview with Charlotte Gerson
Charlotte Gerson, YouTube Interview – 50 Minutes Interview with Charlotte Gerson
Gerson Information Gerson Diet Book (Buy Gerson Diet Book)